This is not going to be a long one. No jokes please…
I’m putting up a post while holding Robbie–no small feat–while also watching the draft. Of course, not many people care about the MLB draft because there are never any immediate returns. You typically have to wait several years before any of these guys start showing up in the majors.
That’s ok with me.
The MLB draft is one of hope. It is strategic. It is vital to trams such as the Rays, Pirates, and Royals. A poor draft hurts for a few years.
What I’m thinking tonight:
–The Rays have the #2 ranked farm system in MLB!
–the Yanks have the #5 system! That is a surprise!!
–the Rays have 10 picks in the first 60.
–this draft is possible because of the departures of top free agents Carl, Carlos, Wheeler, and Soriano. Their losses hurt BUT we hve a team in 3rd place without them AND will infuse the 2nd best system out there with 12 more picks in the first 89! The future looks good!!
–I’d like to see the Rays get a few starters, a SS, and a power hitting 1b. That will be a strong draft for sure.
–I’m keeping an eye out for a local product from the high school down the street (can’t remember the name). Strong pitcher. Strong hitter.
So the draft starts with two pitchers going. Not a surprise!
Major League Baseball will put on its draft tonight as every team around the league looks to improve its club
And if all goes well, these teams will see the fruits of their collective labor in, oh, say, about 3 or 4 years.
Yeah, come on, you know how it goes. This ain’t the NFL or NBA. These guys who hear their seemingly anonymous names called tonight won’t really find themselves on major league rosters for some time now.
Despite this, teams will be taking very seriously the goings-on that will occur at 7 pm Eastern Time.
A good draft tonight can turn a team like the 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays into, say, the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays.
That 2008 squad became potent with the development of one great draft pick, Evan Longoria, and the shining of another, BJ Upton. In fact, the Rays’ success can be attributed quite squarely on the fact that they have drafted well during the Stuart Sternberg era as 10 of the 25 guys on the roster are homegrown.
Manager Joe Maddon and General Manager Andrew Friedman have said this week that they will be looking at the middle of the field as the focus of their draft. We can take that to mean, I assume, catcher, second base, shortstop, and center field.
I am not an expert on amateur baseball players, so I won’t pretend to give a list of great college and high school players who can have an impact on the Rays in the near future. However, I will say that a guy like Zach Cox, a guy who can play 3B and 2B, would fit well with what Maddon and Friedman would like to see on the roster in the future.
The Rays have the 17th overall pick in the draft, and the rumor is that they have targeted a catcher who, at one time, was Stephen Strasburg‘s battery mate–just like every other team in the draft. So, we can’t expect Bryce Harper to don a Rays uni any time soon.
However, a move for a catcher such as this would make sense considering the fall of Dioner Navarro, the question marks surrounding Kelly Shoppach, and the high hopes–yet unrealized potential–that plague John Jaso.
You would think that the Rays would be pretty satiated at the middle infield positions. They have Jason Bartlett firmly ensconced at short. At second base they have multiple options: Ben Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez, and Reid Brignac. In the minors, the Rays have Eliot Johnson and Tim Beckham, though the latter 20-year-old seems to be a few years away as he is toiling at Single-A Charlotte.
Center field is a place that seems to be in question. BJ Upton mans the spot right now, but soon his arbitration clock will run out and he will become an unrestricted free agent. Then the Rays will have to decide whether or not to pay him what he thinks he is worth. Desmond Jennings has center field skills, but he might already be in left field after the Rays (potentially) lose Carl Crawford. Cuban defector Leslie Anderson was just promoted to AA Montgomery and could be with the big club in the next year or so if his fast rise continues.
Whichever way the Rays decide to go, I think we can rest assured that it will be the right way. They have not accrued what Baseball America has deemed the #1 ranked minor league system by accident. And with 6 picks in the first 98 of this year’s draft, the probability is high that the Rays will put together yet another successful group of recruits.
The Rays are coming up at pick 17.
The rumor is that they might choose a P/OF Bryce Brentz. Who knows what position he might play as a pro. Bryce Harper was supposed to be a catcher, yet the Nats have already made it clear he will be an outfielder.
However, should the Rays find INF Zach Cox still available at 17 (he is a top 10 projection), I think they will go with him. This guy is a left-handed hitting power hitter who has the defensive ability and range to play at the hot corner or at 2B.
Cubs are up. Rays coming up…
Cubbies took a pitcher. Rays have their pick (Brentz) and a top-tier infielder (Cox) available.
Rays took neither Cox nor Brentz. Instead they took Josh Sale, a guy that the MLB Net guys seem excited about. He is a college guy (Gonzaga) who plays the outfield. Apparently he will play a corner outfield spot who will hit for some decent power and has little speed. He sounds like a nice future RF, but it would be pointless to pontificate on where he will play as his major league debut is still several years away. However, as a college player (as David Price was) his future might arrive a little sooner than many might think.
Should this guy progress faster than most, then we might see a near-future outfield that could have Desmond Jennings, Leslie Anderson, BJ Upton, Ben Zobrist, and this kid in the mix. Not too shabby.
However, it should be noted that the Rays went neither middle infield NOR best available with this pick. Peter Gammons has guessed that this pick might be more motivated by $$ than anything else, which makes sense. Remember, the Rays were unable to sign two of their first three picks in their draft last year.
The Rays closed out their participation in the first round of the draft by taking a catcher with the 31st pick: Jason O’Conner. The experts said that this guy should be more versatile than a catcher has a right to be, which might mean that Maddon can see him playing middle infield or catcher. He is from the great state of Indiana, so he’s got that going for him.
So the Rays got (maybe) their catcher. That certainly was something that most Rays fans were looking for considering the current state, and franchise depth, of the position.
I just want to preface this by saying it is a highly unresearched post. Perhaps “rant-like” is the best description.
Tonight is the deadline for 2009 MLB draft picks to sign with the teams that drafted them. At last glance on MLB.com I see that the top 3 picks are not signed and 13 of the first 32 picks remain at large.
Kind of a Stupid Draft, Isn’t It!?
(focus on the thought bubble, not the stupid sign to the right)
I have to admit, one of the least exciting drafts you’ll ever experience is the Major League Baseball draft for one simple reason–it doesn’t matter (and that is taking into account the NHL draft, whose rules are a little beyond me but is still more exciting!).
Right now it doesn’t matter, anyway. The guys who are picked won’t make a major league roster for 2 years at the minimum and, probably, many more years than that on average.
So why write a post about it?
Well, I’m a little PO’d that so many players are given the right to choose whether to sign or go to college.
The system currently established is so risky that is boils down to being absolutely stupid!
I think that option should be adjusted somehow. I don’t know exact solutions, but I know that the NFL and NBA seem to have it right. Ok, they have issues too, but typically when a player gets drafted into that league they, oh I don’t know, ACTUALLY SIGN A CONTRACT!!!
The Nationals’ Issues
#1 pick Steven Strasburg is mulling over whether he’d like to sign with the god-awful Washington Nationals or play in an independant league (no college for him, I guess).
He is trying to make this decision despite $16 million being on the table.
HOW IS THIS A DECISION!? SIGN THE CONTRACT AND GO PLAY BASEBALL!!
One reason for this guy not signing can be attributed to his agent.
Apparently he is represented by Scott Boras…
AKA the devil incarnate.
He is telling Strasburg to hold out for the neighborhood of $25 million guaranteed. And the kid, dazzled by the dollar signs, is agreeing.
What a sham.
Not only does the idiot Boras represent Strasburg, he also represents–wait for it–the top 3 picks who, as I mentioned, all have not signed.
If the Nats don’t sign him, Strasburg will go back into the draft next year and Washington will automatically get the #2 pick in next year’s draft. His value might never be as high as it is right now.
But the damage will be done more to the Nationals. The Nats will lose a year to develop Strasburg into a top-tier pitcher AND they will “lose” a top prospect in the process.
Draft Issues Hit Small Market Teams Such As Our Rays!
Despite a trip to the World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays’ first pick, Lavar Washington, Second Baseman extraodinaire, also has not signed. In fact, the latest word from Andrew Friedman is that he and the Rays’ second-round pick Kenny Diekroeger will not sign before tonight’s deadline.
Did I mention that Washington is a client of Satan himself too? Coincidence? Nope!
I know money is important, and athletes need to get as much as possible now before it’s too late. But this is just ridiculous.
And for teams that are always financially strapped, such as the Rays, losing out on your first two draft picks in a draft can be disasterous. Let’s not forget that this team was built on youth and talent, not money.
I mean, we’re not the Yankees.
We’re happy with the way we do things. But the current system surely doesn’t make it easy.
Apparently, the only satisfying draft you can find in the Major Leagues is one of these.
What a shame.